Skeletons poisoning Venezuelan politics

CARACAS – At least 70 paper skeletons have appeared mysteriously across Caracas, hanging from overpasses, attached to railings, and strewn on the ground. Officials blame the opposition, citing the skeletons as a poisonous attempt to stir public fear.

According to news reports, the skeletons display anti-government messages. Some are also toxic. When two police officers touched an envelope attached to one of the hand-drawn figures, they became ill and were briefly hospitalized for what appeared to be a case of poisoning. Authorities have assigned an anti-terrorism unit to the case.

The paper figures bore messages against the government of Pres. Hugo Chavez, National Guard Gen. Jesus Ramon Villegas told the state-run Bolivarian News Agency. He called it the work of opposition factions trying to destabilize the country.

Firefighters sent out a hazardous materials team, which picked up the skeletons, made of poster board, and turned them over to the national police, police chief Luis Godoy told the Associated Press. Authorities warned people to keep their distance from the figures.